Ambassador Delawie’s Remarks for Library Week in Kosovo, April 10, 2018
Good morning everyone. Prime Minister Haradinaj, Minister Gashi, Director Gajraku, librarians, it is my pleasure to be here once again to kick-off the 16th edition of Library Week in Kosovo.
Libraries, and more importantly their trained staff, are cornerstones of the community and essential to the education of Kosovo’s citizens – young and old alike. Libraries help students actualize their learning, and support teachers and faculty members in their teaching and research. That’s why we have supported Library Week activities since the Week was established in 2003.
This year, our Embassy is proud to host Dr. Robert Montoya from Indiana University, Bloomington, who will be speaking about Library and Information Science education and training. Dr. Montoya just finished his first presentation with your librarians, and I think this is a great way to start Library Week activities. Dr. Montoya, thank you for being with us.
Libraries in Kosovo face many challenges, the Prime Minister just mentioned some of the infrastructure challenges of this building to me. But there are other challenges including lack of modern equipment and insufficient funding for new resources. And of course libraries in Kosovo are not alone. These are problems that many libraries in the world face, unfortunately. However, there is so much that can be done with the right human resources. Talented librarians with the right education and approach go a long way in helping to make up for the lack of new equipment and systems.
That’s why the theme of this year’s Library Week is curriculum development. Development of a basic curriculum for library science and further training for Kosovo’s young librarians and educators is critical to making sure librarians have the skills they need to serve the public. I am glad to see the Prime Minister here speaking about this issue because it shows that Kosovo’s government understands how critical good education is for Kosovo’s future.
I have visited a couple of public libraries in Kosovo, and I can tell you that the librarians I have met, along with many of Kosovo’s educators, are passionate about their work. They need greater support and investment, so they can help Kosovo’s next generation unlock all the amazing things that we know can be found inside a library- new ideas, access to information, and the ability to see the world in new ways through reading.
I hope this week is a great starting point for the National Library and libraries across the country to start a sustainable and long term library training system for all of Kosovo. This type of change may take years to work, but we know it is worth it. If you don’t start, you’ll never finish. I believe that libraries have a significant role to play in educating and preparing your children for the challenges and joys of life, and will play an integral role in improving Kosovo’s education system as the country moves closer to Europe.
Thank you to the National Library for putting together a great agenda of activities for this week, and to all of the librarians and institutions supporting this week across Kosovo. I wish you all great success!